Happy Birthday America! … or something like it.

I realize I still haven’t posted photos from other special events (Linley’s SECOND birthday for example), but these are right here and handy, so enjoy!

This year’s Hodge Ave parade/block party: Linley helped decorate the wagon and Whittaker had fun riding.

4th of July 2013-1 4th of July 2013-3 4th of July 2013-4 Whittaker’s shirt did say, ‘my first word: HUSKERS’… so we made a little patch for it.4th of July 2013-5 4th of July 2013-6 4th of July 2013-7 4th of July 2013-8 4th of July 2013-9 4th of July 2013-10 4th of July 2013-11 4th of July 2013-12 4th of July 2013-13 4th of July 2013-14 The bell at the end of the parade. Linley wasn’t so sure about it – or anything really at first. We’re okay with that. It’s best to proceed with caution.  4th of July 2013-15 4th of July 2013-16 Whittaker catching they eyes of the ladies… what’s new?!4th of July 2013-17Hamin’ it up.4th of July 2013-18 Yay! The big parade!4th of July 2013-19 4th of July 2013-20 4th of July 2013-21Then we all strolled on home and took some much needed naps. Here’s to hoping America stays free and brave. Happy celebrating everyone!

1.5 years + 3 months

We finally got around to taking advantage of the 60° weather in December and had ourselves a little photo shoot out back. I had high hopes of making it to the park, but the sun was fading fast and thankfully theres a wood pile in our back yard, which suited just fine!

big cheeseShe’s adopted one of my old hats as her own, and I am oh so glad! Aren’t you?! Okay, I’m bias to my own.

LL 19.5 months-18

We were having lots of fun, even though her hands got dirty, or as she likes to say, ‘dotey’.
hats&dirtyhandsIt didn’t take long for the wagon to become more interesting than sitting on a pile of wood, so we went for a ride and later found some birdies (boh-dees) in the sky.

LL 19.5 months-20 LL 19.5 months-21

We love you little lady. You’re growing growing!little lady loves

Even though it was warm enough for Linners to enjoy the great outdoors, it was a bit too cold for brother to show his face with the cool breeze, so we opted for the chase and flirted inside instead. happy boy

Gotta love his sweet hair line. smiles&hairline Whittaker_3mo-16


LL goes to the pool

Another first timer! I didn’t have time to tell about this prior to Whitt-boy coming so here it is now…

I had been water walking up the lazy river with another expecting mama at the aquatic center and finally got the opportunity to take Linners along for the first (and last) time :)

She was very much looking forward to going and LOVED it!

I was maybe slightly concerned that her adventurous spirit would get her in trouble, but she bravely climbed the stairs next to the giant bucket waterfall ‘thing’ with momma’s help and away we went! A successful first time pool outing. I have a feeling this is this easiest a pool outing with babes is ever going to be ever again.


some much delayed posts : Grandpa’s Garden

Once again, the Asayplacey has been one busy placey! Here’s a brief update:

It’s been a couple of months since we’ve been to my Dad’s garden, but it was sweet none-the-less (and not just the produce). Grandpa Rob has many talents and hobbies, but the most recent (and I’ll say fruitful for the pun of it) has been gardening. He built the greenhouse you see below, makes his own bug repellent, and well, just does a good job!

See the swirly plant top on the right? Those are garlic scapes. Dad gave them to us to try out, so I put them in a fresh salad to add some kick, and boy did they! At least the ones that we had were about as potent as the bulb itself. It was fun to try something new – thanks Dad.

More scape picking and hanging with Grandma Lindsay.And we can’t leave out the PEAS! These were the. best. and sweetest fresh peas I’ve had and little lady could not have agreed more… fresh out of the pod. 

Hopefully more garden fun to come!


June getaway | Sarasota

A few months ago, Tad and I decided that it’d be a good, fun and beneficial thing to get a way just the two of us, post-nursing Linley and pre-baby ‘a’ #2. So we did some research booked two flights and made our way down to Sarasota, FL. (For those of you Iowans looking for the cost effective way to do this: fly Allegiant into a nearby city, rent a car if you’ll be doing that anyhow, drive to your destination and save $.)

Tad has gotten into the habit of always asking the front desk for free room upgrades, so that we did and this is what we got!

We were a little weary of bad weather during our 2 day stay on the beach (it was my first time away from LL, so leaving Thursday morning and returning early Sunday morning for a 2 day stay was just right). The forecast was about 70% chance of rain or higher the entirety of our stay, but we resolved that if it rained, we would just go play in it!

We arrived at our destination before dinner so we were able to walk around a bit and found a place to fill our bellies. Dining outdoors when the weather is lovely is probably one of the most enjoyable things to us, so of course we opted for outdoor seating, despite the discount they offered for indoor seating. But no sooner did we start our bread and soup did the rain come’a pourin’! Can you see the splashes on the ground in the image below? We were getting wet at a table across the walk and moved to this one.

*Side Note: the dish seen on the table was the most delicious gazpacho I’ve tasted!


Praise the Lord, though, that before we were finished with our dinner, the rain went away, and we were able to enjoy an evening walk on a nearby beach.


Because we had a full kitchen and balcony to enjoy at our room, we decided to head to the downtown Sarasota Whole Foods and pick up some snacks and breakfast items to enjoy for the morning.

The cherries were so delicious – so pricey – and so delicious!


For breakfast the next morning we opted for vanilla yogurt with granola and OJ with the birdies serenading us. (We watched a bird couple build their nest just a few yards away.)


Oh, yes – coffee.


Despite the NINETY PERCENT chance of rain that day, it was sunny and warm at 9am, so we made the most of the morning and headed to the beach. This is the entrance side of our room looking out to Long Boat Key.


And this is us in our foolishness blissful ignorance – because even between the hours of 9 and 11am in the Florida sun is enough to be fried. But it was so pleasant while we didn’t realize the damage being done. We both read while listening to the ocean. We soaked in the water and enjoyed the waves. It was lovely.


And then we began to realize. So we breaked for lunch. (still not ONE sign of rain!)


After realizing just how badly burned our skin truly was, we decided it’d be wise to go get some sunscreen (we should not have assumed!), aloe, and black tea to soak in – we had heard that it was good for burns.

So we brewed a handful of bags and carefully applied it liberally. I’m not really sure just how much it helped, but at least we tried. Perhaps soaking in a bath of it would have been best.

Despite our pain, we were still able to enjoy a sweet night out with surprise company – friends from home! We found out that we’d be vacationing just a few miles apart and our time would be overlapping so why not make a double date of an evening?


We went to a fun tapas bar called Ceviche in downtown Sarasota and enjoyed dinner and conversation before returning to our homes. Oh, and THEN the 90% of rain became more of a reality when we left the restaurant to this. Tad was offered an umbrella by one of the waiters and ran to provide us with curbside pickup!

Afterwords, I was remembering how I only had a handful of photos of LL in utero, so Tad snapped a few quick ones. Thank you to my friend Lindsey for providing me with a dress to wear that night.


Needless to say, we did NOT soak out in the sun day two and last day on the beach. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy it! We drove over to Siesta Key beach to go for a walk and enjoy the less ‘shelly’ sand in our toes – tshirst + pants! – before grabbing lunch and a cabana at the beach at the resort where we stayed.


I had to take a picture of the purple/blue flag up when we came back to Long Boat Key. On the way down a little boy stopped us and said, ‘hey, there’s a shark down there.’ Tad’s response, ‘hey, cool!’ :) Not minutes after, however, people began returning to the water and enjoyed the afternoon.


And so did we. But we spent most of our time covered, reading under the cabana, and limited our time in the water and in the open rays to about 20 minutes WITH sunscreen. Even though Long Boat Key beach is much more shelly and the beach is more rough, it’s also much less populated and therefore more peaceful. Not to mention, Tad found a souvenir as we were exiting the water.


All the shells washed ashore:


Let me just take a moment to confess just one of the many reasons why I love Tad. He is a planner and thinks of things that I, well, I do not. One reason we only had two nights in Sarasota was because he knew that our flight was leaving early and that we’d still have an hour or so drive back to St. Petersburg where we flew in to. So instead of sleeping there one more night, we booked a hotel in St. Petersburg near the airport and enjoyed an evening out there. We parked downtown, enjoyed a meal (you guessed it – out doors! In fact, I don’t think we ate inside once on our trip!) and then guess what we did?! We went to a MOVIE! Something we almost never do at home. Dinner AND a movie is just too long of a date to have someone stay at our place to babysit, so we usually opt for the dinner or dessert portion and skip a movie/other entertainment altogether. Not this night though! We went for it!

Tad at ‘Muvico’ downtown St. Petersburg.


Tad being fun and my red face before seeing the Hunger Games.


We then packed our bags so they were ready for the morning, rested for a few hours, boarded the plane and flew home.

It was a lovely – well worth it – weekend June getaway, and I’m looking forward to more of these shorties. It was just the right amount of time, as we were (I was especially) ready to return home to the little babe. I had heard awful stories of feelings of abandonment when parents left for a few days, so I was a bit anxious. But LL acted as though we’d been gone for an hour and was just as happy as could be! She even saved a surprise for us until we returned home!

Too bad she’s struttin’ around in her dipe, but we’ll take it. Just one day shy of 14 months! Way to go Little Lady! Welcome home to us!

lately: april through memorial day

NOTE: if the video links don’t come through – copy and paste into your browser to view.

A very. long. post. for a VERY full month and a half. You have been forewarned! But we can’t begin without a bit of LL during our mulch shoot we had to take photos for her thank you cards:

I always like to give her something to play with when we photograph, and thought it was fitting to use her ‘I love you’ wooden teether 1. because she’s becoming a rockstar at signing! (see the video below – unfortunately it’s cut short) and 2. because it was neutral! We had fun… sort of.

ok, back to the mulch session:

below she was politely letting me know that she was ‘all done’ by signing and saying ‘daauuh’?? And yes, just after she fell into the mulch, we were most definitely ‘all done’!

Speaking of the mulch (and I wish we had a photo of last year’s yard, because stating that it was overgrown is an understatement! It was truly a small forest), we decided it’d be good to nip the weeds in the bud and at the very least clean some things up by laying some mulch. So we headed to our city site and picked up a few truck-fulls of ‘less-than-great-but-it-does-the-job-FREE-mulch and laid ‘er down.

Tad has been working SUPER hard this past month both in and out of the house! (we’ll get to what’s going on INSIDE in a bit). There were just (and still are) some oddly placed and sore looking items in our yard that needed to see their final day. This bush for example:

And this tree, which is now a lovely stump:

Now that the spring perennials are gone, the back was left colorless, so thankfully this weekend, Tad’s momma came and helped bring some life – COLOR in the form of pretty flowers. And SOON there will be color! Now, if only I can keep them alive. I do have a good solution for this, believe it or not! It comes in the form of a three foot round plastic thing which will be our summer fun: the lil pool.

LL has already truly been enjoying playing in the water outside on hot days, or just being outside in general, so my plan for the flowers is to water every time I fill up her pool (just not on the jet setting – perhaps the mist or shower setting)

We’ve had fun in her new sweet swim halter from Aunt Nichole and the sun hat gma-Marty made:

 But, ya know, skinny-dipping has its perks too: (Now if I can just teach her to leave her toys inside the pool so she doesn’t try to get them and fall head first onto the concrete. sigh.) We’ve been sitting on the quilt a family friend made for her a lot already this summer, playing with leaves and sticks while momma reads.And having fun and playing with dad.And getting bit by monster skeeters resulting in lots of swelling (the middle knuckle if you couldn’t tell):

 And LOVING wagon rides!!! (thanks gpa + gma Asay) …so much so that we’ll cry when we pass by the red wagon only to find that we’re getting in the car instead:

Side note: the wagon is proving to be a wonderful walking aid for LL!

This is probably her typical posture while ‘chillin’ in her ride, though every once in a while she’ll try to prop a foot up on the side. (See the naners in the bag?? We were just heading home from the grocery store!)Speaking of rides, we’ve done a good amount of riding in the car this past month. Tad had a bit of training to do for work and was up in the twin cities for a full week, so to break up his time away, LL and I joined him for a couple of days mid week. We shopped, we walked, we ate, and we made a mess of the hotel with our O’s. Bestly though (it’s a word!), we got to see dad :)And somehow, in all of her free time, LL pick up a little somethin somethin at the mall, and when we all returned home, she presented THIS to me for momma’s day:It was full of all kinds of LUSH goodies (yes they were lush, but I don’t mean that, I mean LUSH cosmetic goodies, hand-made yummies good for my nose and well being) Because of my growing belly, the rose and argan body conditioner was probably my favorite in the package. Thanks little lady!

We also traveled over to ‘Mtown’ to visit great gramps n gram McD. Thanks for loving on us! 

Also this month (late last month?), we FINALLY had our first prenatal appointment. I guess we thought mid-way through was a good time to start care;) Actually there were a couple of reasons for the wait, but the primary reason was the month or so without insurance due to Tad’s job switch. But we’re thankful to be where we are and to have heard the babe’s heart beat beating well. Linley even got to hold the doppler! Because Tad wasn’t able to make it to the appointment with us this time, we took a video for him, so have a look if you’d like to watch. I had my blood levels tested as well and am deficient in a couple of areas (This post is becoming quite long, so we can chat about that and nutrition in the next).

It was good to hear and even more fun to have Linley so involved. I have been asking the Lord to tell me what this babe will be like. If he/she is half as goofy, tenacious, and strong-willed as his/her older sister, boy are we in for a real treat! Lately we’ve been:

finding it humorous to stuff food down the back of our shirtand sitting for Loooong lengths of time (attention undivided-the tenacious part) trying to either 1. put a lid on and off of something 2. take these mini books in and out of their case 3. put either her or your shoes on and off or her or your feet. She seems very patient! Every once in a while she’ll get frustrated that something she’s been trying for so long at isn’t working, but with some gentle encouragement she continues on and has mastered a few things! She’s just so intent on making it work!

For example, this past week, I gave her markers to explore with for the first time, she colored for just a bit, but as soon as she saw the box, there was no more coloring – she was far more interested in getting that marker back inside its case!

I suppose the above image is finally a glimpse of the finished mantel along with the rug and chase we purchased at ikea while up north a couple of months ago, so here are some more!

Yay! The mantel and bookshelf! We’re still working on the decorating – but it’s complete… for the most part (some base shoe and fresh tile and we’ll call it good!) My favorite piece in the room is that old blue milk canister, which we’re using to house our fire utensils. Garage sale find!Sofa and chairs. I should have taken a wide shot; maybe later. It really does feel more homey and ‘put together’… a good feeling to have. But there was another room in particular that did NOT feel so homey and ‘put-together’: the dreaded ‘GREEN ROOM’. Why is it dubbed the ‘green room’ you ask? Well, because it sports green carpet, green walls, when we moved in it was adorned with green laced curtains, green tile, and a green counter top to match in the attached bathroom. So we are currently in the process of carrying out PROJECT DE-GREENING THE GREEN ROOM. We’re hoping to bring some sort of functionality order and a much need aesthetic update to this VERY multi-purpose space.

Here are the before’s:

And so it began this past week/weekend

1. remove old trim

2. rip up carpet and install floor of choice – in this case, a surprise method we’ll reveal when it’s complete (but can you guess what it is?!) ps. we spaced w/ pennies!

3. create and install new casings for the windows to match the 1911 style in the rest of the house – THANKS gpa Asay for slaving away this weekend! Well, I guess we didn’t JUST slave drive you! There was some fun involved: 


4. create half wall/shelving unit/coat hook/mudroom area/laundry nook

5. fill holes, caulk, and paint!

6. furnish decorate and enjoy.

Well friends, this is becoming a bit much. The meal planning, naked babies, potty training, and photo shoots will have to wait for another day. A joyful SPRING week everyone!

LL No. ONE! – birthday

Yaay! We celebrated Linley’s very first birthday last week. It’s been a very full year and we’re thankful!

LL and I enjoyed the day together casually as we didn’t know if Tad would be home to celebrate that night (out for work!), so in the morning we started the usual routine when I realized that I had accidentally left my bag on the floor, open to exploration. And Linley found this:

She’s learned to sign ‘please’ and so she was rubbing her tummy/chest like crazy saying please please please! and so she enjoyed a special birthday breakfast treat. If you can’t see what it is, it’s a Peter Rabbit – sweet tato, corn, and apple squeezie. They’ve been so handy when traveling or shopping!

When I brought out a muffin for my breakfast, LL just couldn’t sit still, so I asked her to say ‘please’ again, and yay she did! Persistence has paid off! We’ve been working with her to sign for the past six months *(please note again her santa jams… when we’ve got one pair that she doesn’t crawl out of and it’s April, we’re not going to go purchase another):

Tad was away from home for the first couple of days last week and didn’t know if he’d make it back to celebrate LL’s actual birthday, so here he is facetiming with the girl:

aaand here she is not knowing what to make of it:

We opened some birthday cards we had received in the mail (focusing very intently):

And then we found out that Dad WOULD be home in time to celebrate with us after all! We didn’t realize soon enough to prepare a grand meal, however, so we ventured out to one of our favorite local places, The Cafe.

Linley and I shared the Cafe mac and cheese (it’s not the typical round about mac n cheese) and she devoured every bite we’d let her have! So in order for me to have some dinner, we sat her down and gave her one of those wedges you see here:


It was already nearly an hour past her usual bedtime (6:30p!!!!) when we returned home, but we couldn’t just go to bed with out having SOME sort of a photo shoot. So I quick sewed together these pieces of fabric, took a marker to them, placed them on the mirror, and hoped she had fun. Here’s what we came up with:

Before we hit the ‘that’s all she wrote’ we had to remember momma and dad on the birthday so what’d we do? we laughed and we snuggled.

and this sleepy stare told us that was all she wrote:

The family celebration coming up next! Happy first birthday little lady!

Road trip to Kearney

Just a couple if weeks ago we all made the 6ish hour treck to Kearney to help celebrate a family wedding. Of course we had to take a family photo (even if it was with my phone!) while we were all decked out!

We can just pretend that LL is blowing kisses.

And every opportunity we get we gather cousins:


It was such a sweet wedding!

On the way home we stopped in Lincoln for lunch with Great Papa and Nana. Thanks for letting us rest up half way!


celebrating christmas twenty-eleven.

Tad, Linley, and I celebrated with three different groups of people. My mom and step-dad (celebration 1), my dad and step-mom (celebration 2), and Tad’s parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. (celebration 3). Here we go!!


First, there’s Gus. He’s the horse seen below. When we first arrived, Linley started SCREAMING after just looking at him! She didn’t know what to make of the rowdy, ‘i’m so big but think i’m a small puppy’ dog. Needless to say she took after cousin Maggie’s outlook (below with her daddy – my big brother) and by the end of the night was okay with him licking her face (not by request).

Then we celebrated with gifts and even had special helpers to pass them out.

I made Linley little booties to where… can you see them? They were so sooo simple: felt and yarn. This is Aunt Dani hangin with the LL:

She had fun and as usual put everything in her mouth. The doll in the middle right image, was made by grandmomma marty. 

Hey Papa Chan!

A ring for Momma from my brother and sister-in-law found on Etsy:

gmomma and the two girls – LL had already changed into her jams (a theme throughout). Maggie is saying, ‘bye-bye’!!

CELEBRATION NIGHT TWO: Friday before Christmas at my Dad and step-Mom’s:

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY! Linley got this sweet top and turtle neck for my shower before she was born from a sweet friend and it was perfect for today. Doesn’t she look like she’s off to a holiday party?

Gifts gifts galore! and practice with paper.


oops. same picture twice.. see it?!

okay, the SWEET poncho knit baby cape beauty was made by my ever-so-talented-sister-in-law, Nichole. She is a machine! If I had the link ready for our Etsy store, you could purchase there and get your own goodies. Both the sweater she is wearing herself and Linley’s brand new cape (which you’ll see her wearing again Christmas day) were hand knit by her. Nicely done sister!

One of my very favorite gifts that we gave this year was to my dad. (it was my favorite because I knew he’d love it so much). It was a Melodica. We attended a concert with them a number of weeks ago where he saw it and was very interested in it. He’s a SUPERSTAR when it comes to ANY musical instrument and is VERY gifted. Don’t be shy, Dad. We who have heard/seen you pick up an instrument and just ‘figure it out’ ALL know it’s true.

And I can’t leave out these two buddies. They were having lots of fun together:

But so much fun wears a girl out, and when this happens, you know it’s about time to say goodnight.

On to CELEBRATION NUMERO 3: Off to Omaha immediately following Christmas at my dad’s. (Saves driving the hour+ home then making the trek again the next day). However it also meant lots of sadness in the back seat. :(

Christmas Eve day, the happiness returns! Linley and Grandpa Thom reading the newspaper together.

We went to the Christmas Eve service at Tad’s family’s church in Omaha (Thank you Grandma Michelle for the lovely red dress!) followed by dinner, traditionally chicken sandies, rice pudding, and treats:

Because all of the little ladies were wearing their best, we thought it’d be good to have them sit nicely together and pose for a nice Christmas picture. Below are our attempts (not too bad… you know):

In hopes of not having an over-tired, emotional babe, we attempted to put Linley to sleep in a pack N play we had brought with. ‘Attempted’. And failed. So we just partied and hoped for the best!

We again gathered ’round to celebrate by exchanging gifts (blessed-blessed-blessed! – but not as blessed as the reason why we exchange gifts in the first place – to represent the BEST gift given, EVERY year – His name is Jesus. He’s God. Know the Story?):

I really wish I could say what was going on here. Suggestions anyone?

Linley’s oldest cousin was trying out her new wings! I’m not sure why she seems so unpleased in this photo. She was really very excited about it…I think!

Linley, too, had fun practicing her climbing skills on the boxes. But little did she know there was a little (bit bigger) someone on the move behind her. Her other cousin, Addi! So LL got plowed by the bigger baby.

She didn’t mind, though, as you can see below, she went right back after her. I feel like these are WAY better little lady photos than the ones we attempted earlier :) They always are!

Finally it was time to say goodnight, so we packed up and headed home to Grandpa and Grandma Asay’s placey. Linley just deliriously stared out the window, would close her eyes, then throw her head back and whip her eyes wide open again (exhaustion setting in.) Praise the Lord though, she didn’t have too much trouble falling asleep once we put her in the crib.

CHRISTMAS DAY we enjoyed lunch, games, and dinner together at Tad’s other Aunt and Uncle’s home. Linley was having fun playing with toys and her (2nd?) cousin Molly.

She was getting sleepy and ready for a nap, but I knew if I waited, the light would be gone and we’d miss a good opportunity for photos, so we put Linley’s lovely new cape on and away we went!  – However, when she’s sleepy and you set her down somewhere without joining her, she seems to become very troubled, so we did our best to cheer her. It worked! I thought she looked like a little peddler boy (girl) with her leggings riding up like that (thanks gma marty!)

With the light right there and our cameras out, I asked cousin Molly to snap of few of the three of us (as this is unfortunately a rare event), so THANKS Molly!

And then Granda Michelle and I headed back home for a quick nap and returned for more family fun. What a weekend!

I thought we took LOTS of photos (and we did) but after sorting through all of these, I realized that we really need to do a better job of taking pictures WITH grandparents! Something I missed this year. Even still it was a great first Christmas celebrating with a Little Lady!

Thank you Thank you everyone for sharing time, resources, love, and gifts with us! MERRY CHRISTMAS… and now, HAPPY TWENTY-TWELVE!